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When It Comes To Seed Grade, Take It Or Leave It

When It Comes To Seed Grade, Take It Or Leave It
Your choice may be to take the grade and size available or switch hybrids altogether.

If you're one of those people who still think you have to have medium flats to get good stands, you may be limiting yourself on which hybrids you can get. Dave Taylor, agronomist for Harvest Land Co-op, says some hybrids may have limited or no availability in the seed grade or size you want.

"The seed dealer is probably playing the hand he was dealt, having available the seed grade and size that was produced for the year," Taylor says.

Besides, in most years as long as you get the seed planted properly, most agronomists say it has little if any impact on yield, Taylor says. The only exception might be seed establishment for small seed in very cool, wet years or big seed in very dry years.

Unusual effect: The 2012 year was unusual and produced many round seeds. Normally environmental factors don't affect seed size as much as many people think, agronomists say.

In very cool years, small seed may run out of nutrients before the seedling is established. In very dry years, big seeds may need more moisture to get started than was available. However, both of those situations are rare.

Jeff Nagel, Ceres Solutions, Lafayette, says you may see fewer rounds this season because 2012 was so extreme it produced lots of rounds due to poor kernel set. Seedsmen needed every kernel they could get in 2012, and many of those kernels were produced without many neighbors. That allowed them to spread out, and in many cases, allowed them to become round grade seeds. He's looking for more normal sizes and grades in most hybrids this year. Still, in the very hottest hybrids grown in limited quantities, not all grades and sizes may be available.

"The genetic potential of various seed sizes is essentially the same," Nagel says. Seed production and processing can impact seed quality, but most companies have high production standards.

"Planter technology has improved so much today that you should be able to singulate very accurately regardless of seed size. It may mean that calibrating meters is a good idea."

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